Monday, April 30, 2012

Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting

My sister took me to a local cupcake store where I had Almond Buttercream Frosting over Vanilla cupcakes.  I don't like frosting and I normally just eat the cake, but I LOVED this frosting so much I ate it all.  I went back for more.  I decided I would try to make the almond buttercream frosting myself.  After all, how hard can it be?

The cupcakes turned out pretty good.  If I make the cake recipe again, I would definitely add probably 2 jars of Maraschino cherries instead of one to really bring out the cherry flavor.  As far as the frosting.  It was amazing.  This will be my go to recipe from now on.  I finally found the frosting to use for the key lime cupcakes I made a while back.  I am ecstatic. 

Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes found here.
  • 10 oz maraschino cherries
  • White cake mix
  • Reserved juice from cherries
  • Enough milk to make 1 cup liquid
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the cherries and reserve juice.  Add enough milk to the cherry juice to bring the liquid to 1 cup.  Slice the cherries in quarters.  Put the cake mix in a mixer bowl and add all the ingredients and mix until well combined.  Pour into the prepared pans.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when you test the center.


Almond Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp of pure almond extract.
With an electric mixer, cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Slowly beat in the sugar until smooth and creamy and sweetened to your liking (about 2 minutes). Add almond extract and stir to blend.   Frost cake when fully cooled. If you are not using the frosting immediately, store it, covered, in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature just prior to using.

This is SO good.The frosting is definitely finger lick'n good.

A cupcake with a wonderful cherry surprise inside.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missed Photo Op

My husband decided to take the boys to a basketball game last week.  He's taken my oldest many times, but this time E. and R. sparked an interest in going.  The very last minute, R. decided he would rather stay home so E. invited his friend to come along (I wasn't invited).

Before going, I told my husband to take pictures because it was E.'s first basketball game.

He came up with these.  I guess I can't complain too much.

I didn't complain UNTIL I found out that E. was selected to go meet ALL the players!!!!  Did my husband go take pictures of him high-fiving the team????  Of course not.  He failed to capture a once in a life time opportunity.  I'm not bitter or anything, can you tell?

Sure, all the bitterness was erased when E. told me he had such a great time and that he wanted to go to another game.  My hubby managed to convert my non-sports fanatic son into a basketball lover.

He wasn't even a basketball lover after playing it for two seasons.


 Here he is making the final shot on the final game.

He scores!

The bar of this experience has been set high sitting only 8 rows back from the floor and being able to meet the players.  It was indeed a once in a life time opportunity.  I'm glad the boys got to bond.  I suppose, not being invited wasn't all that bad. ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning

It's always been a goal of mine to redo the garage.  I want the walls painted, an epoxy floor, enclosed shelving, to be able to park both cars in my garage AND to have a wood shop.  Do I sound like a guy?  You ask what exactly have I done?  Exactly nothing.  I was gung-ho about starting the renovation, but my hubby reminded me that it wasn't a necessity at the moment to redo the garage, especially when I hadn't reached my goal of paying off the house.  It's our number one goal at the moment so this huge project that is more for aesthetic will have to wait.

That didn't stop me from doing a little spring cleaning this past weekend.  My garage started out like this.  Leftover wood from the playhouse project, toys that needed to be donated, a lot of empty boxes (I seem to keep every box from every item I purchase, but I'm getting better), and a stack of items that needed to be returned filled up 1/4th of the garage.

The other 1/4 consisted of left over furniture, wood, and projects that needed to be finished.

Yes, I have cardboard on my garage floor because you never know when you will need cardboard.



The boxes on the floor is my donation stack so although it looks like I can finally park two cars in my garage when those items are gone, I wouldn't be able to open my door because of the shelving unit on the left. 

That is why I plan on moving them to the right side of the garage.  I didn't do it before because of the windows.  I thought it was always taboo to cover up windows, but I think my garage will be more functional.  I'll finally be able to park 2 cars comfortably.  I wouldn't have to crawl over to the passenger side to be able to get out.

Alas, it's a project for another weekend.   I remember having to put those shelving units together and the thought of clearing out all the stuff that is on it so that I can move it, is a bit scary.  I'm going to elicit some help, but don't warn my hubby as I am sure he won't be too pleased with me volunteering him.

At that time, I'll tackle painting the garage since I already have paint.  The epoxy floors will have to wait a couple of years.  I'll just dream about it. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ice cream cake

A. wanted a Kirby cake for his birthday so a Kirby cake it is. Just in case you are wondering what that is, it's a character off of a Super Mario Bros. video game. Since A. doesn't eat cake, I decided to make him an ice cream cake. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

First, I took his favorite ice cream, mint chocolate chip and layered it in a 9" round pan. I first lined the pan with parchment paper for an easier removal.

I lined it with a sheet of plastic wrap and used another 9" round pan to press it flat.

I added another layer of chocolate ice cream. I refroze the ice cream in the freezer. The next part, I have no pictures for because I had to act quickly. I baked chocolate cake in a 9" round pan and let it cool. I added a crumb coat to the cake and refrigerated. Once that was set, I took the pan with the ice cream and inverted onto a board and placed the cake on top. I quickly frosted the entire cake and refroze. After it was hard, I decorated the cake with facial features.

It's not my most perfect piece, but it got high praises by all my kiddos. I know it's a winner when my kid who doesn't eat cake, ate the whole thing. Here's what it looks like cut.

Next time, I would only use one ice cream type, layer it thicker, and make the cake layer thinner. With a grin like this, I think either way, it was a winner.

Yum! All gone.

First time ever, we had no left overs. I will definitely make this again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Scoop at Marble Slab Creamery Today!

Try Marble Slab Creamery's New Yogurt today from 4PM - 7PM for free. Check out participating locations here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Free Angus Steak at Panda Express

Visit the Panda Express facebook page to print out a coupon for a free Shanghai Angus Steak tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17th.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sliding Doors

Phase 1 of the club house is complete! I finished it before A.'s birthday as promised.

I added the last pieces of the sides. It was unfinished last week.

I also added shutters that close and


I then built a sliding door for the club house to act as shade in the afternoon. Without the door, the afternoon Southern sun made it incredibly hot.

I had to build out the top and bottom of the clubhouse for an even surface for the sliding door.

I was going to route out a groove, but found lattice fence edge pieces that were perfect. I used a piece of luan that I had left over in from my board and battan project and I finished the edges with 1" x 1" cedar pieces.

It slides perfectly. I sprayed the other side of the sliding door with chalkboard paint.

I know what you are thinking, another chalk board? We had sharing issues with the smaller board so now there is plenty space for all the kids. I also like the black color against the dark wood. It breaks up all that brown.

The last thing I decided to add was a little shelf to store the chalk and extra pillows.

In phase 2, I plan on making some curtains for that window. I may or may not close out the triangle windows at the top with working shutters.

Phase 2 will also consist of building the first floor of the club house. It will have to wait.. I've been working on this project for four weekends straight and need a little time off. I have many other outside projects to work on, but it may rain so we'll see what this weekend holds.

Looking at what I started with, I've come a long way,

but there is still more to go.

The kids have been living outside from the moment they get home from school so it has definitely been worth it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coconut Hummingbird Cake

For Easter, my sister decided to try out a new recipe and bake her first cake, Coconut Humming Bird Cake. It tastes a bit like banana bread. This cake gets its name because supposedly, each bite is so scrumptious, it makes you want to hum.

Hummingbird Cake makes 1-two tiered 9″ cake (taken from here)
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans *optional
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 2-9″pans with shortening or line with parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer, beat vegetable oil with sugar and vanilla for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition. Mix until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and coconut. In another bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined and divide the batter amongst the pans. Bake in the centre oven rack for 30-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched in the centre.
Cool cakes for 15 minutes in the pans on wire racks. Carefully invert pans to remove cakes and let cool completely on wire racks.
Cream Cheese Frosting (I only used a little less than half of this recipe)
  • 2 cups (16 0z room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 cups of powdered sugar
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in vanilla followed by the sugar continuing to beat until smooth.
Place the first cake on your serving plate upside down and spread about 1/3rd of the cream cheese frosting over the top. Stack the second cake on top and frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Top with toasted coconut.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

To celebrate, my sister made these adorable cupcakes. We whipped up a batch of cupcakes, added a little cream cheese frosting, sprinkled some toasted coconut and topped it with some whopper egg candies.

Aren't they cute?

Left over coconut became delicious macaroons.
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